Winners and losers after Saturday’s Cup race in Pocono

Austin Cindric is somewhat amused by concerns about a certain statistic in his career record.

It’s the zero you can find if you look up his number of victories on oval tracks in NASCAR. He didn’t win in 95 starts on paved ovals in the Xfinity and Trucks series. Since 2018, he has won 21 top 5s in ovals.

His three victories have been exclusively on road courses.

“It’s fun because I feel like more people are emphasizing my first oval victory or whenever I am myself,” Cindric said at a Zoom press conference earlier this week. “Personally, I know that I am capable of doing it. I have proven myself many times. I feel like when it’s going to happen, I think when it’s your day, it’s your day. “

Could it be that day today?

The Xfinity Series competes at Pocono Raceway (12:30 pm ET on FS1) on the series’ only visit to the 2.5-mile circuit this season.

But Cindric, in his second full-time Xfinity campaign, doesn’t see a Pocono victory as an oval victory. Although you only turn left when you run there, it only has three turns.

“For me, if we win this weekend at Pocono, then it will be my first triangular victory and I will still be looking for my first oval victory,” said Cindric. “You are never satisfied, but overall it has been a great year for us. Really, from the way we ended up last year, I feel like that carries over. We have made changes to our cars and changes to the way I drive and I have been able to focus on the last two percent of what it takes to be the best in this series and I feel that has been taken directly. “

Throughout 11 races this year, all with ovals, Cindric has six results in the top five and another two in the top 10. In the last four races he led 160 laps in total without taking a checkered flag.

“I feel like there are a lot of things in my career developing until this year and being able to use the resources that I have and obviously being able to execute well, I think that’s important,” said Cindric. “I have the same group of boys that I have had in recent years and I think that is important, in addition to being able to compete for a championship and I am proud of that effort.”

“It has been a bit frustrating the last few weeks not being able to win, especially with such fast cars.” You probably saw the peak of that frustration in the second race at Homestead (when he led 60 laps, cut a tire and finished tenth), but for me, I am quite motivated to take the lead in that field. “

Your opportunity today to lead the field comes with an added incentive. Cindric, starting ninth, is one of four drivers eligible for the final $ 100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. He will face Justin Haley, Ross Chastain and Alex Labbe.

Today’s race is Cindric’s third start at Pocono. He finished fourth and seventh in the first two.

“I feel like you’re always managing your own strategy there,” said Cindric. “I saw a (old) race again with my team and understood how we are going to play that race. But for me it is a fun track because it almost reminds me of Fontana in the fact that you have to have a fast car to win the race because it is a very big track, a very long straight at both ends.

“But at the same time, there are many driving characteristics that you must understand and that you must be able to manipulate during the race in order to be good there. I think that plays in our hands. I have always liked that place. I like where you can use the brake pedal and depending on how your car is, it can slow down so I’m excited about it. I think this is another great opportunity for us to run well. “